Thursday, October 30, 2008

Install Puppy Linux in Ubuntu

Like I said in my last post I have installed Puppy Linux on my hard drive. It did take some knuckle greasing and loads of forum searching, however finally I managed to get a working Puppy to show up in the boot menu. I still am searching for a way to get an Puppy entry in Vista's boot loader. Open source rocks! I have done a Frugal install. It means that Puppy will reside happily with your current OS, without doing any partition or stuff.
So here are the simple steps to get your own Puppy OS. You might want to read this review of Puppy Linux here.

Download Puppy: You should download the latest version of Puppy from here.

Burn A CD: Using any CD burning program you like, burn the downloaded .iso file to an CD. Preferably a shiny new CD. A DVD would work fine too.

Reboot: With the CD inside the CD drive restart the PC. If your BIOS settings are properly configured, your PC would boot into Puppy Linux. If your PC isn't configured to boot from CD and you end up booting in your Ubuntu, follow the simple tips given here. 

Select Proper Configurations: While booting in Puppy will ask you few question. Nothing difficult, just select the appropriate settings such as keyboard and video card. In case of selecting video card, if your PC is relatively modern go for Xorg or else if that doesn't work opt for Xvesa. You can preview the changes which will happen.

Try out Puppy: Before you install Puppy, I would suggest you to stop and take a look around, get a feel of the OS before you install it. 

Installation: All the steps from now on are related to installing Puppy.
1. Goto Menu > Setup > Puppy Universal Installer.
[Image]

2. Select the appropriate drive. If it is relatively modern go for Internal (IDE or SATA) option if your PC is very old select the Ancient True SCSI option and likewise for other hard drives.

[Image]

3. Choose which physical hard drive you want to install to.

[Image]

4. Choose which partition you want to install Puppy onto. If you are unsure about it, don't worry even if you choose the wrong drive you can uninstall Puppy by simply deleting the Puppy folder. You can try later.

[Image]

5. Sanity Check: Read the things given, if they don't make sense to you, hit continue.

[Image]

6. Hit OK.
[Image]

7. Select CD.

[Image]

8. Choose 'Frugal'. With Frugal install you don't run the risk of losing any data. Puppy won't format your drive and will coexist peacefully with your primary OS.

[Image]

9. Give any name you want. I have named the folder 'Puppy'.

[Image]

10. Wait...
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11. *Important*:
In order to save hassles later on do this. Goto Menu > Graphics > mt-Paint Snapshot Screencapture.
Take a screenshot of the following window.

[Image]

12. Okay.
[Image]

13. *VERY Important*
 Now navigate to the /tmp folder. Look for a file named NEWGRUBTEXT.
Use the file manager for this. Keep this window open. Now click on any one of the several drive icons displayed at the bottom row of the desktop. Now drag the NEWGRUBTEXT file from the tmp folder to the selected drive. Select 'Copy' in the pop-up menu.

[Image]

14. Restart: Reboot into Ubuntu this time.


15. Terminal: Fire up a terminal, now type these commands in it:

sudo cp boot/grub/menu.lst /boot/grub/menu.backup

This is to backup your Grub, incase you muck things up.

 gksudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst

This will open up the Grub bootloader in Gedit.

If you are on KDE use this command:

 kdesu kate /boot/grub/menu.lst 
 
If nothing happens navigate to the folder File System > Boot > Grub
Open the file menu.lst.


16. Navigate to the bottom line.

17. Read the step 13. Now go to the folder where you dropped NEWGRUBTEXT and open it.
You will find some text like this:
title Puppy Linux 410 frugal
rootnoverify (hd1,0)
kernel /Puppy/vmlinuz pmedia=atahd psubdir=Puppy nosmp
initrd /Puppy/initrd.gz

18. Copy all of it and paste it in the menu.lst file.

19. Hit save to make the changes.

20. That's it! You have successfully installed Puppy alongside Ubuntu.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Interview With Adam Oslen - Exaile Player Developer

Few weeks ago I reviewed Exaile and have been so impressed with it that it has replaced Amarok as the default music player on my Ubuntu. You can read the review here. So I hunted around a bit to talk to its lead developer - Adam Olsen about Exaile. He promised me that there are some great things to come in future versions. Read on to find out more:


So Adam, tell us something about Exaile.
Exaile is a music manager and player targetted for the GTK+ platform. It's written in Python and uses the Gstreamer media library for playback.

Why and when did you set out to write Exaile, were you dissatisfied with other media players?
I started writing Exaile for a few different reasons. Yes, even though I was using and liked Amarok at the time, and I wasn't aware of any complete alternative. At that time, I was also wanting to learn Python, and I believe that one of the better ways to learn a programming language is to dive right in with a project. Starting my own music player project target to the platform I was using was a natural progression of things, so to speak.I started writing Exaile in March, 2006. It is my second Python project, my first being a simple IRC bot (I think it's pretty much law that everyone's first Python project has to be a bot). I got quite a bit of suggestions from my music enthusiast friends, some during discussions in LUG like meetings at the library.

Who are your other team members?
There are a lot of contributors to Exaile, but the four people with complete access are :
- Adam Olsen (me) - I live in Salt Lake City, Utah, and work full time as a programmer and systems administrator
- Aren Olson - Programmer
- Johannes Sasonkgo - From Brisbane, Australia, also a programmer
- Mathias Brodala - Berlin, Germany, translations manager

Will Exaile forever remain an Amarok wannabe or will you at some point decide that Exaile will develop on its own? Amarok 2.0 is soon coming up, will you change Exaile to mimic it?
I'm not sure, I haven't used Amarok 2.0. If it has some cool features that we're lacking, we might implement them, but that's probably as far as it will go. I stopped using Amarok soon after Exaile played it's first track. Almost everything that mimics Amarok is from what I remember when I was using it back in 2006. The rest of Exaile is just how I think it should work, and implementations of feedback we get from users. Exaile has been it's own project for a long time, and it'll stay that way.

Why isn't there iPod support out of the box? How about video playback for music videos and better visualizations rather than those from Totem?
Earlier versions of Exaile had built in iPod support. Moving it to a plugin made it easier to work on as a separate entity. In the future, it'll still be a plugin, but it'll probably be one that's enabled by default, or at the very least, your iPod will be detected automatically.

Video Playback: This actually wouldn't be that hard to do, however, there have been conflicting discussions about whether or not it should be done. Most people want Exaile to just play music. Time will tell, though. If we get enough requests for it, we'll put it in.

Visualizations: I'd love to get ProjectM (http://projectm.sf.net) working with Exaile, but in order to do that we're going to have to use a different playback engine than Gstreamer, or wait until the libvisual portion of Gstreamer gets OpenGL support. Either way, it may be a while.

Any news on Exaile 0.3?
Right now we're focusing on Exaile 0.3, which is almost a complete rewrite. This will be the second rewrite Exaile has gone through. Some features that we'd like to add in 0.3 are auto detection of devices via HAL, and better and more complete plugin interface. The current artwork is a hodge podge of different artwork I've recieved from different artists. I'd actually like to have all new artwork for 0.3 (I actually really like the current stuff, but it's always good to keep things fresh), but it's hard to find artists that are willing to contribute (yeah, if you're an opensource artist and you're reading this, please contact me!).

Why did you choose Python for developing Exaile?
The very first versions of Exaile were written to use the wxPython toolkit. There were a few show stopping buts in the wxGTK+ port, but the biggest reason that wxPython code is extremely ugly. The bugs only added onto the pile of things I disliked about
wx, so I eventually just rewrote the whole thing using pygtk and glade. Python is my favorite.

What have been users reactions? Any most requested feature?
User reactions have been great. Exaile has gone way beyond my original intentions. Feedback and contributions have been amazing. I consistently get emails that say things like "good job" and "great work". There have also been a few good reviews from leaders in the community.
I'd say the most requested feature right now is album compilation support. It's something I'd like to add, something that Amarok has and we don't, but I haven't really found a way to do it cleanly. Perhaps 0.3 will help us out in that area.

Did you have any other coding experience before Exaile?
I've been a professional web programmer since 1998. Exaile is my third desktop application, the first being JBother - a Jabber client written in Java, which I started in 2003, and the second is GTKJournal - a journal application written in C++ (I believe this can only be found in FreeBSD now, but I still have the source around). Since I started programming in 1998, I've learned about 7 programming languages, and after doing so much work on Exaile, I can honestly say that Python is my favorite.

Which distros have you use?
I've been using Ubuntu since Warty. I also use Debian at work. I started with Redhat 5.2 when I was in highschool. I actually gave up on it pretty quickly. I had no internet connection, and no real good way to learn how to use it. Later on, I used SuSE 7.2 for a while, on my girlfriend's computer.

Is it easier writing a software for Linux than for Windows?
I can't honestly say. I haven't written much software for Windows specifically. I can say, however, that I believe it's much easier to write software *on* Linux, but that may just be my bias. I've been using Linux exclusively long enough now that I don't really know Windows very well anymore.

Which are some of your most favorite softwares for Linux?
On a daily basis, I use Gnome, Firefox 3, vim,Exaile, irssi, ipython, bitlbee.

Any idea when Exaile 1.0 will come out?
No idea. I'll admit, the current version numbering scheme is somewhat
arbitrary.


Which are some other media player for Linux you use apart from Amarok or Exaile?
I don't. I'll fire up Banshee, Rhythmbox, Quodlibet, or Listen occasionaly,
but usually just to answer questions like "I wonder how they've done this" or
to get ideas. Mostly I just use Exaile, though.

As a developer, what according to you are the advantages of being open-source?
There are a lot of advantages. Ease of advertisement. Exaile first got noticed just because I posted about it on the Ubuntu forums (that post can be found here. Ease of getting tools and libraries - because it's an open source licensed project, I can use open source licensed libraries. Because those libraries are open source, it's easy to find other projects that use them, and because those projects are open source, it's easy to read the source for examples. The community nature of the free software world even allows me to directly contact the developers of the tools I use, to ask questions, or to even submit patches. Other obvious advantages are free labor (contributions of source, artwork, and etc from users), free distribution (once a project is mature, it makes it into the various distros and is usually installed directly from their repositories), free hosting (github, sourceforge, launchpad all give away free hosting for opensource projects)... I could go on and on.

What are your views on Open-source?
I think it's great. For me, programming for my job and working on Exaile are two completely different things. One I get paid for, and one I do because I enjoy doing it. Does the coder suffer? Not at all. In fact, if anything, my job benefits from the knowledge and experience I get from working on outside projects. Without the opensource community, project like Exaile couldn't flourish, there would be no way to advertise them, no user feedback, insufficient knowledge to start them in the first place.

Review of Puppy Linux

Just out of curiosity I downloaded Puppy Linux and gave it a try. Now both Puppy and Damn Small Linux are petits, however I decided to give Puppy a go because it has few essential things like Java and flash pre-installed. It also comes with proprietary media codecs. So it truly acts as an 'Just Works' OS as compared to DSL where you'd have to configure those things.


It was a 'large' 95 Mb download! After downloading you have to burn Puppy .iso file onto a CD before you can get any work done. Restart your PC with the Puppy CD inside the drive. If your PC is geared to boot from CD drive first then on rebooting your PC will boot into Puppy Linux. There are few things to choose, like choosing your keyboard layout, then choosing correct video card. Nothing much to worry about, if your PC is relatively new then opt for the Xorg or else got to the Xvesa.. Nothing rocket science in that.
The default interface is quite bland, although nothing you can't correct with an impressive wallpaper. The thing which impressed me was that despite its small size, Puppy could do almost everything I needed it too do. Puppy is very fast and agile. It boots in very quickly.
I have been impressed by it so much that I have installed it on my hard drive (yup, you read that right) as a quick booting OS. It takes 30 sec to boot and 12 sec to shut down.

Setup: Since Puppy is an OS meant to run from CD or USB, it is very easy to install. There are built in options to install it on USBs and other media.You will have to configure the Network (internet) Settings all by your self though. That is definitely an area which needs improvement. Setting up Puppy is very easy, just look under Menu > Setup > Puppy Universal Installer.

Look and Feel: On looks Puppy could compete head on with Windows 95, however that is not the correct way to look at Puppy . The wallpaper isn't much to drool about, but as I said you can change that. Puppy Linux 4.0 is still using the very lightweight window manager called JWM (Joe's Window Manager) and ROX-Filer as its file manager. The one thing I hate about ROX is that it resizes the window of the file explorer with every level of navigation, it gets very irritating. Puppy doesn't show you the thumbnail preview of the images by default, there is a setting to change it. Here is my desktop screenshot (I have changed the wallpaper).


















Applications:
Puppy has many applications to fit your bill. These include a fast Mozilla based browser called SeaMonkey (there are extensions for it too), gXine (gives VLC a run for its money), Abiword (document editing application), Fotox (image viewer), Prename (batch file renamer), Pburn (CD/DVD/blu-ray burner), Pnethood (Samba client), Pwireless (wireless scanner), Pfind (file search), Gtkam (digital camera interface), Xsane (scanner interface), ePDFView (PDF viewer), Linux Firewall, Pctorrent, Axel Download Accelerator, Many CD rippers, mhWaveEdit audio editor and more. Hoof...just give me a second to catch my breath.
The funny thing is that Pburn, the burning program can even burn blu-rays. Just try and guess how many copies of Puppy Linux can you fit on a blu-ray? (here's a clue.....many!)

The best thing is that you can always install every other softwares, like Firefox, Open Office whenever you want to by installing small .PET files
Here is a screenshot of gXine, Why so serious?


Cool Features: Now this particular 'Puppy' has few tricks up its paws. If you are using Puppy from a CD and make any changes Puppy can save those changes you have made on your CD! Obviously the CD has to be re-writable, but isn't that cool?

Final Say: Weighing in at 95 Mb Puppy is a good thing to have in your Pen Drive, 'nuff said.
The download page for Puppy Linux 4.0 can be found HERE.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

5 Gmail Notifiers For Linux

Gmail is undoubtedly the best web-based email around. Unfortunately Google doesn't have any Gmail notifier for Linux. However thanks to the open-source world there are many alternatives out to choose from and whats better is that all of them are better than their windows counterparts and are free. Here is a list to help you chose one.

1. Gmail Notifier: Gmail Notifier is the first one which comes to mind. It resides in your task bar and displays a pop up when a new mail drops by. It also shows a short snippet of the mail so you can decide whether you want to check it out right now or not.

Cons:
It is not possible to know who has mailed if there are more than one message. In such cases Gmail Notifier only displays the snippets of the most recent mail.
Also it is rumored that Steve Jobs uses it to check out his Gmail.
[Image]
[Homepage]

2. CheckGmail: CheckGmail is my most favorite Gmail notifier. It has an attractive styling and has many features not found else where. For instance you can see snippets of all the unread mail in your inbox and also get options to mark the message as read, archive it, delete or mark it as spam. It is fast, secure and uses minimal bandwidth via the use of Atom feeds. You can even display the full text of the message after installing few other dependencies. Multiple instances of CheckGmail can be run together to keep track of different accounts.
Undoubtedly the best email notifier.

[Image]
Cons: The current build of CheckGmail for Hardy Heron is broken due to changes made by  Google in the login process. There are workarounds available at the authors site here.

3. cGmail: cGmail is another nice software to keep checking your Gmail account. Its developer describes cGmail as "a new shiny mail notifier that integrate[s] well into gnome desktop".
During my test I could see that it integrates well with my Gnome Desktop, but I am still searching for the shiny bit. 

It opens Evolution when you click on "Open mail reader" option. It might be helpful for those folks who use Evolution. It can even sync other POP based emails.

Cons:
Apparently Bill Gates uses cGmail secretly on his personal Ubuntu PC.
No mail preview.
[Homepage]


[Image]4. Gmail Notifier: Gmail Notifier is an Firefox add-on which lets you know when an new mail comes over. Most Linux distros ship with Firefox by default, so this miht be an handy extention to have.

 Cons:
Your browser has to be open all the time, to receive notifications.
 [Download]

5. Evolution & Thunderbird:
Evolution and Thunderbird are a full fledge Outlook alternatives. You can sync many other things like iCal with them, and yes they will notify you when ever your Gmail inbox increments itself.
However if you use Gmail from your browser and don't mess around with Outlook, Thunderbird or Evolution then, I would recomennd you to pick Gmail Notifier or CheckGmail.
Do you have any other suggestions apart from these? 

If you found this post useful, interesting please Digg It and help the author in helping you.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ubuntu Shipit Resumes Operation!

Ubuntu Shipit has started accepting requests for the next Ubuntu release Ubuntu 8.10 called Intrepid Ibex. Shipit is an service started by Canonical to give distribute free CDs of Ubuntu to those who cannot download them.
Shipping usually takes 2-4 weeks depending on your location. You need a launchpad account for requesting an CD. Registration is free.
Intrepid Ibex is the latest OS developed by Canonical and will be released on 30th October.
https://shipit.ubuntu.com/

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Best Music Player For Ubuntu - Exaile?

One of the reasons why I love Linux are music players. On Windows you get WMP 11 which is a decent thing to play MP3's however there is no support for fetching album art, lyrics and other stuff. The other alternatives aren't so so good either, iTunes is a resource hog (1GB of RAM to play Maddona, you are kidding!).

On the other hand Linux music players have been simply amazing! I have been hooked on to Amarok for quite some time now, however I tried Exaile the other day and now it has become my most favorite player for Ubuntu, perhaps even overtaking Amarok. Read on to know more about Exaile:


Exaile tries to be for Gnome what Amarok is for KDE. The developers started with this aim and hence the final product is an amazing player which matches, if not betters many of Amarok's strength. Exaile is written in Python. The first thing you will notice is the size of download package. You will be surprised to find out that Exaile weighs in at only 1 MB! Installation can be done by either using Synaptic or by grabbing it from the downloads page.

Since Exaile is an native Gnome app, it starts up almost instantaneously as compared to Amarok which requires quite some time to start up, since it needs to load various KDE libraries. It also integrates better with my Ubuntu setup. Exaile tries to mimic Amarok very closely. Long time users of Amarok will find themselves at home with Exaile.
One of the my most favorite feature in Exaile which sets it apart from from other Gnome players like Banshee is the Volume Controler, most Gnome players like Banshee and Totem have the dropdown volume controller which is so Windows 95. Exaile has an proper slider volume button. I know it isn't a big deal for most, but still it is these small things which go on to make a big difference in the user experiance. Exaile also offers tabbed playlists.

Like Firefox, Exaile's features can be extended by installing various
plugins. Thankfully installing plugins is an one click process. You can add or remove plugins by going to Edit > Plugins. Exaile loads a list of available plugins and you have to merely check or uncheck the plugins which you want or don't want.
As with all Linux Players Exaile too comes with features like Wikipedia integeration, fetching cover art from Amazon, Lyrics and On Screen Display (like the one at the top of this blog). Surprisingly iPod support is absent in Exaile however it can be added to Exaile by the means of a plugin.


Exaile has an album art collector. The main benefit is that you can get album art for your entire music collection with one click, and oh no credit card required (listening Apple?).

There are still few minor flaws, which I am sure will be taken
care of in the later releases. Namely as I said before, lack of iPod support out-of-the-box, better Wkipedia integeration, the current integeration is more like Firefox in a music player and how about Cover FLow or atleast displaying cover art in the layouts as in WMP 11?


I would definitely recommend you to try out Exaile. It makes Banshee look like a monkey.


Although Exaile cannot play videos as of yet, however come version 1, I am sure we are gonna get one player which will topple Amarok out of the number one position!
You can download Exaile here.
Please Digg This article if you found it useful.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ubuntu Tweak 0.4.0 Released!

Ubuntu Tweak 0.4.0 has been released.
We told you about it 3 days ago, before anyone else did here. Its author TualatriX has written an in depth review of Ubuntu Tweak's capabilities. It has taken him 2 months to code Ubuntu Tweak.
Here is his take on Package Cleaner:
another new feature has been introduced to Ubuntu Tweak after I finished the GUI design. That’s the “Package Cleaner”.
After a long time of using Ubuntu, after many times of installing and updating, I think there’s a lot of packages that are useless in your Ubuntu, it is called the “Garbage Package”. So is the package cache.
Now you can clean up them easily through Ubuntu Tweak!
If you’re a skilled user of Ubuntu, you must know the opertions can be done by run “sudo apt-get autoremove” or “sudo apt-get clean” in termianl. But Ubuntu Tweak can do it better, you can remove the packages(or cache) in your mind.
For example, you want to remove most of the unneeded packages, but want to remain the old kernels. So you can just select what you want to remove, and click “clear”. If you do with “apt-get autoremove”, all the packages will be removed by once.
Following pictures show how you can clean up packages and cache by Ubuntu Tweak.
Ubuntu Tweak will automately list the unneeded packages(or cache), you can clean up of them by selecting what you want, or just select all.
The pictures show the old kernel can be removed.

The same to clean cache, it will free your disk space.

I hope this feature will help you to manage your Ubuntu with a better solution.

You can read his review here: http://ubuntu-tweak.com/2008/10/09/ubuntu-tweak-040-released.html

If you are use Ubuntu Tweak through its repository and you’ve upgraded to Ubuntu 8.10, please changed the sources to Intrepid:
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/tualatrix/ubuntu intrepid main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/tualatrix/ubuntu intrepid main
If you still using Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy, the old source is still be used.
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/tualatrix/ubuntu hardy main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/tualatrix/ubuntu hardy main
Or you want to go and download it from here: downloads

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sneak Peak at Ubuntu Tweak 0.4.0 (beta)

Recently I got an opportunity to try out the latest beta of Ubuntu Tweak 0.4.0, after taking it for a test drive, here are my thoughts.
The UI has been radically redesigned. I have always liked Ubuntu Tweak's looks. The current redesign makes Ubuntu Tweak look very sleek and modern. Here's a screen shot:


The first thing old users will notice is that the big radium-green banner has been removed. There was lot of noise about this issue. Some like me were in support of the banner since it made Ubuntu Tweak look better, where as people who don't give a damn about looks were against it since it is against Gnome's designing principles of efficiency. I wasn't all that impressed by the new redesign when I saw the screen shots, however after using it I am glad to say that it is even more better looking than the older one. One of the biggest factor which lead to the scrapping of the banner was the thought that users using Ubuntu Tweak on small screens as in EEE PC wouldn't be able to use it.

Installation: Installation was hassle free as usual. Unlike most other softwares, Ubuntu Tweak can be installed by merely double clicking its DEB file. It  is a self contained installation file which doesn't need other files for installation. This is another thing about Tweak which I like. Other developers should take heed about this and provide a single installation file.


As always TualatriX the sole developer of Ubuntu Tweak has added yet another useful feature in Ubuntu Tweak to make it even more useful. Few more versions down the line and I believe most of us will have to bid adeiu to x-confg editing!

Package Cleaner: The new feature is called 'Package Cleaner' and as the name suggests it cleans away old, unneeded packages. Synaptic downloads various packages when you download any software, however when you uninstall the same software, those extra dependent libraries aren't cleaned off. Over time these packages will get accumulated and take up unnecessary space, thus affecting performance. However thanks to 'Package Cleaner' it becomes very easy to clean them off.


Ubuntu Tweak retains all other other options from previous versions.
Some of Ubuntu Tweak's best features are the options to install 'Third Party Softwares' like Skye, Exaile, Awn. Cairo Dock etc with a single click. No need to search and add urls to Ubuntu Repositories. Another cool feature is that you can add templates and scripts without hacking your way out. I'll write about those features later.
As with any beta, Ubuntu Tweak 0.4.0 has its share of rough edges, however those would get settled soon. All in all Ubuntu Tweak 0.4.0 is an amazing update to an very useful software. I would definitely recommend you all to upgrade it when it comes out, currently it is in beta but it should come out very soon. Ubuntu Tweak is making a strong claim to get included in with Ubuntu by default. Do download it when it comes out!

----
Ubuntu Tweak

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

6 GIMP Tricks Everyone Should Know!

[Image]Having used both GIMP and Adobe Photoshop I must say I personally believe GIMP is much better for common folks like you and me who need a relatively simpler set of tools to make quick edits to our Vacation pictures. Photoshop is undoubtedly more useful graphic designers, however for making quick tweaks, nothing beats GIMP. Recently GIMP 2.6 was released, so I decided to make this tutorial for those who still haven't discovered the magic of GIMP and don't know how to use GIMP productively.

1. Rounded Corners: There is something about Rounded corners which make Photos look very cool. So here's how you can give your photos rounded corners:
Open up the image you want to apply rounded corners effect.

[Image]

Now select the 'Rectangle Select Tool'. It is in the GIMP Tools window. Now select entire image or the part of the image you want to round off. Now go to menu Select > Rounded Rectangle.... A box would pop up asking you to specify the radius in percentage. 50 is the default value. I'd recommend something like 15-20.

[Image]

Next right click on the image and go to 'Select' in the menu and then click on 'Invert'. Now hit the delete button. Now hit Ctrl+S to save your creation. Here is an example.


[Image]


2. Crop an Image: Many times it is necessary to cut out those boring parts of a picture, like say that happy picture of of your husband in the backyard, in which a dog could be seen peeing in the background. So here is how you can 'Crop' that dog away:
Open up the image in GIMP and use the 'Select Tool' to select the part you want to keep in the image. In this case, it will probably be your husband.

[Image]

Now this is VERY important. After selecting the proper image part, you should right click on the image and click on 'Select' in the right contextual menu. Now click on the 'Invert' in the sub menu. Now hit delete button on your keyboard. Cool, You have successfully kicked out the dog! But still there is the ugly white space around the part the dog once existed. So go to the menu, Image > Autocrop Image. This will get rid of the white space.

[Image]
OR
simply use the Crop Tool from the Tools, it is above the 'Text Tool' it can do the work in a better way.
[Thanks Borge]
3. Red Eye Removal: May times the downside of using flash on your camera is that your subjects get Draculla like blood red eyes. So if you have couple of pictures which need to remove Draculla eyes here is how it:
Open up the image, select one eye at a time and then go to menu, Filters > Enhance > Redeye Removal... you will get an pop up box which will allow you to set the amount along with a live preview.

[Image]
Adjust the level and now select the other eye.
I have used the bright red Opera icon to illustrate my point. Here are the two images. Before and after using the Redeye Removal tool.

[Image][Image]
4. Change the size of an image: You may want to change the size of the image so here is how you can do that.
Open the image in GIMP and go to menu, Image > Scale Image...

[Image]
Here you can specify the size of the image. But wait, the size is in pixel and normal human beings like you and me don't know how to use pixels, so click the small box with pixels and change it to inches. Now you can change the image to something like 4X6 inches. Click on the link connecting the X and Y size boxes to resize them individually instead of having them changed in unison.

[Image][Image]
5. Reduce the file size of images: Many times you have to send your images to someone (like your grandmother)as mail or upload it on sites like Flickr. But your digicam takes pictures as small as 4 Mb per image, so sending your entire European Vacation images will be a nightmare for your grandmother. So here is a tip to reduce the file size of your images without reducing the size:
Open up the image you want to reduce, now go to menu, File > Save As...
Now if the image isn't in JPEG format click the 'Select File Type (by extension)', and hit 'Save' button. Now drag the slider in the pop up box to any level you want. Check mark the file preview box to get a live preview. The less size you want the less this number should be. But remember that lower size means less quality.
6.
Adding text

Use the text tool to add some text. You will get a new text layer which you can also see if you look at the layers dialog. You can use the move tool to move the text where you like to have it. Then merge it with the white layer below by choosing Merge Down from the Layer menu. You should now have one layer with black text on white background. Using Layer -> Colors -> Invert you will achieve something like the picture above.

So now that you have learnt a bit about GIMP hit anyone who says that Photoshop is better with a big fat book! For home use GIMP rocks!
Please Digg This if you liked this article. Do you know have any such GIMP tricks? Please add them in the comments.
Here are some web sites which you can use to learn GIMP:

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